Meet the man who pays out the money
Ever wondered how winners are paid their money or who looks after them? From the moment they realise they’ve won to actually getting their prize money, winners are looked after every step of the way by a dedicated team of Winners’ Advisors. It is their job to support winners through the entire process so they can begin to enjoy their life-changing win.
Read what Senior Winners' Advisor, Michael Paris, the head of the team paying out all major winners has to say.
How do you help winners keep their feet on the ground?
Our first piece of advice is to always take your time, do nothing in haste and have a holiday, so you can allow the news to sink in.
Winners are often in deep shock in the initial days after the win, but we often find that their family and friends play an important role in keeping their feet on the floor, as despite the win, family life tends to go on as normal.
The vast majority of winners are very grounded and just want to ensure the win lasts them as long as possible, and that they can leave a legacy to future generations.
Does the money go into a special account so that the win is tax free?
There is no tax on the win itself, but if the win produces an income through interest, then that will be taxed as part of your normal income tax.
What’s the biggest cheque you’ve written out?
I had the great pleasure of dealing with Colin and Christine Weir from Largs in Scotland who won £161,653,000 in July 2011, making them Britain’s and Europe’s biggest lottery winners!
If the winners wanted anonymity instead of going public, would you still advise them?
Absolutely yes. It’s entirely the winner’s decision if they want to share news of their win. We have an aftercare programme in place to ensure that all winners have access to legal and financial advice.
It’s often the case that when a winner decides to remain anonymous, we are the only people that know about their win so we keep in touch with them for as long as they want to. Often they like to talk to someone or just let us know what they have been up to.
How big is the team?
There are seven Winners’ Advisors in total, and we are based all over Europe. We see around 1,500 big winners a year, and when we aren’t visiting their homes to validate claims, we are chairing follow up meetings for them with lawyers and financial experts, or attending press conferences or media events.
As a Gamelot employee you can’t play but do you ever feel jealous?
No, not at all. People have won substantial amounts of money through luck. It’s a real privilege to be part of their life at a time that they will never ever forget. I get let into winners’ lives for a short period and help guide them through the initial stages of a life-changing event. It’s fantastic to go back to them later to see just how their win has changed their lives and the lives of their family.
What would you do if you did win?
Don’t for one second think that this hasn’t ever crossed my mind! First of all, a nice holiday somewhere warm and relaxing so that I can make a plan. I’d buy a bigger house, invest for the future, put money aside for my children’s future, gift money to other family members (what’s the point of you having money to do things if those closest to you can’t afford to come with you), and go in style to any sporting event I choose.